I ditched Facebook. I’ve grew tired of:
- RSS feeds not updating.
- Being frequently mysteriously logged out
- Having applications being added just for accidentally clicking on a damn Farmville-esque wall post.
- Being straight, and yet being served ads for gay dating sites.
- Applications getting all your information.
- Seemingly,. everyone getting your information.
- Being tracked.
Facebook always gave me that shit tasted walled garden feeling of the late 90s. I hated how it how it seemed that more and and more techsavy people actually used it to send messages, rather than – you know – email. I like that status updates. I liked that sharing of links, but when I visted CNN.com after viewing Facebook, and seeing my friends’ activity on CNN, I flipped. There’s no reason why that information should be shared. I don’t think I got one of those damn pushed malware apps from Facebook, but I don’t know. Sure, I could have just configured some firewall to block a bunch of stuff, but voting with my feet is much more satisfying.
Heeding Eben Moglen’s call for the open source world to help users reclaim their data from the walled gardens, the Diaspora project, aims to create an open source peer-to-peer service for social networking.
The idea is that each person has their own Diaspora seed that contains all their shared information. Seeds talk to each other over encrypted links, in order to propagate this information across the social graph. (See Diaspora’s ISOC presentation, for a not much fuller description.)
The project is incredibly early stage, but I find it fascinating. It’s like your own personal friendfeed. Thankfully (and surprisingly to me), they just passed their Kickstarter goal of $10k. (It’s at $19k as of this writing.)
When Diaspora is released, I’m going to run a node, and I hope you will too. (Or at least use Diaspora’s hosting service.)
In the meantime, I suggest we examine these open alternatives:
- Open Microblogger
- One Social Web
- FOAF (Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s favorite.)
- DiSO Project
- FSF’s Social Networks Discussion List
As Mike said, a rich shared artifacts interface would awesome.